Understanding Odds

One of the most important aspects of betting online is being able to understand the odds on display, and read the lines.

If you're unable to read the odds, you won't be able to find any value in your bets - and you're unlikely to succeed and make any money betting sports.

Worldwide, there are three ways in which odds can be displayed. New Jersey sportsbooks will always default to the American odds system, but all offer a setting to change it if you find other odds types easier to read.

  • American Odds (e.g. +350)
    Used, unsurprisingly, in the USA!
  • Fractional Odds (e.g. 5/2)
    Mainly used in the United Kingdom, and for some racing odds in the US.
  • Decimal Odds (e.g. 3.50)
    Mainly used throughout Europe.

The above examples are all the same odds, and win you the same amount for a $100 bet.

American Odds

American odds look different when betting on a favorite, to when betting on an underdog.

This is because the odds are expressed differently for each scenario. If you're betting a favorite, the odds displayed tell you how much you need to bet in order to win $100. Favorite odds are preceeded with a minus (-).

Favorite Example

New England Patriots are -150 to win the game Sunday. This means you need to stake $150, in order to win $100 profit.

Odds for underdogs are shown with a plus sign (e.g. +300). This represents the amount you can win if you stake $100.

Underdog Example

Tiger Woods is +900 to win the Masters. This means if you stake $100, you'll get $900 profit.

Decimal Odds

Probably the most popular odds format worldwide, as it's the format used in Australia, Canada and throughout Europe.

Many also consider decimal odds the easiest to read at a glance. They don't change format based on being an underdog or favourite.

The figure displayed is simpley the amount that will be paid out times your stake.

Decimal Examples

Manchester United are 1.33 to win at home to Everton FC in the Premier League. This means for every $1 staked, you can win $1.33.

Because the number is less than two, this indicates a strong favourite.

If you want to bet the other side, Everton are 4.50. This means you will win $4.50 for every $1 staked. All of this includes your initial stake. For any stake, simply multiply the odds * stake.

  • $150 at 3.50 = 150*3.5 = $525
  • $500 at 1.67 = 500*1.67 = $835

Converting Odds

Should you wish to convert between American and Decimal odds, the following formula is used:

  • Positive American Odds: Decimal Odds = (American Odds/100) + 1
  • Negative American Odds: Decimal Odds = (100/American Odds) + 1

Odds Conversion Chart

Odds Conversion Chart

Now you understand odds, it's time to place your first bet!